Saturday, May 17, 2003

More on Childhood

In class the other night, we somehow got on the subject of things children do that embarrass their parents and other adults around them. Which reminded me of the reason my mother finally demanded a second car so that she wouldn't have to ride the bus with us kids anymore.

She survived my little voice with only minimal embarrassment. "Mom," I whispered, pointing at a very large woman ahead of us on the bus. "That lady is fat." My mother, being younger than I am today, thought that perhaps ignoring me would work best. Poor Mom. Instead, thinking that she hadn't heard me, I said, louder, "MOM, that lady is FAT." Still no response from Mom. "MOM! THAT LADY IS REALLY FAT!!!" We got off at the next stop.

My brother's turn at embarrassing my dear mother came similarly, except he traded my fat lady for an elderly black gentleman and the phrase "Mom, his nose is really big!"

But mom, being the youngest of 4 and only girl, used to all sort of creative humiliation, weathered this surprisingly well. Though we did get off the bus sooner than planned a few times... No, it was not until my sister Karlyn that she decided our bus riding days were over.

See, Karlyn was a little more social than the rest of us, though she wasn't a big talker. She liked to walk around and look at stuff - under the seats, for instance. The end came on the day my mother discovered her chewing on a piece of moldy gum, peeled from the underside of one of the seats.

Yum yum. New car, here we come.

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